3:30 p.m., April 11) Local
team wins Rogers Hometown Hockey contest By Fred Sherwin
the Cumberland Dukes Atom A hockey team started the season,
their coach, Kirk Als, handed them each a link to a chain
and told them that if they joined their links together
they would form an unbreakable bond that would last the
also adopted a motto 17 links, 17 brothers
which they turned into a cheer. When Als would
yell at them, 17 links!, they would yell back
of the Cumberland Dukes Atom A hockey team
visited City Hall during the lead up to the
Roges Hometown Hockey reveal. PHOTO SUPPLIED
been coaching for 10 years and Ive never come across
such an awesome team-building concept, says Als.
We joined our links together to make a chain I explained
to them that the chain is only as good as its weakest
link and together we will succeed or together we will
concept carried the team to their House League championship
and a prize that they will cherish forever.
to start of the playoffs, Als was surfing hockey websites
on his computer when he came across the Rogers Hometown
Hockey site which encouraged minor hockey teams to send
in a 30-second video showing why they should move forward
to the cheer contest.
the video the Dukes put together, the players explained
the concept of the chain and how it made them become a
stronger unit and want to play together as a team of brothers.
video must have impressed the right people, because the
Dukes were chosen, along with a peewee team from Leitrim,
to perform their hometown cheer during the Hometown Hockey
stopover in Ottawa on March 19.
ended up winning the contest, which put them in the finals
along with 23 other teams from across Canada. At that
point it came down to the online voting.
Dukes got support from Cumberland Ward Coun. Stephen Blais,
Mayor Jim Watson and every friend, relative, co-worker
and even complete strangers to cast their ballot on line.
winner was announced during the final Hometown Hockey
telecast on Sunday.
60 people, including all the players and their parents
had already gathered at Als house for their year-end
party, when they turned on the Sportsnet broadcast at
5 p.m. They patiently watched the TV until finally, at
5:50 p.m., the shows hosts Ron McLean and Tara Sloan
announced that the Dukes had won the Canada-wide contest.
place just broke out in pandemon-ium, says Als.
They were cheers and tears. I think the parents
were more excited than the players.
The team wont find out exactly what they won for
a few more weeks, but they will receive their prize before
the end of the playoffs.
team that won last year was flown from Newfoundland to
the Air Canada Centre for a game, and they received all
new equipment. The total value of the prize was about
$50,000, says Als. Who nows what were
going to get well have to wait and see.
then, there will be a few more sleepless nights.